“Nigeria is studying the military tactics used by Sri Lanka to crush the rebel Tamil Tigers for its own battle against Islamist group Boko Haram,” Reuters reported on Friday, citing Nigerian Defence Ministry sources. The Nigerians are having discussions pertaining to strategy and tactics with a military delegation from Sri Lanka led by Chief of Defence Staff Jagath Jayasuriya, a genocide-accused who was the overall command overseeing the offensives on the Eezham Tamils in Vanni from 2008-2009. The US led West and several other African countries are also supporting Nigeria in its offensives against the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Boko Haram is a Salafist-Jihadist outfit that believes in the establishment of a state governed by strict Islamic principles as laid down by the Sharia.
The outfit came into international attention after its kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls about 2 months back. Following this, the US had pledged active support to Nigeria.
However, Nigeria’s alliance with Sri Lanka has deeper connotations.
While Nigeria’s enthusiasm for the ‘Sri Lanka model’ shows a dangerous trend among West-backed Third World countries in handling with insurgencies, Nigeria’s own history in crushing the paradigm-setting Biafran independence struggle is worthy of note.
After a brutal civil war, which saw the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Nigerian forces, imposed starvation, and cutting off medical supplies to the Biafran territory, the Nigerian government retook the region after the surrender of the leadership of the Biafran resistance in 1970. The death toll among the Igbo during this period is said to range anywhere between two to three million.
In its war on the Igbo, Nigeria was assisted by a confluence of world powers, most notably the UK, which had strong economic relationships with the Nigerian regime. On the other hand, the political demands of the struggle for Biafra were not recognized by any major power in the world, though issues of their ‘human rights violations’ touched Western media.
The genocide of the Biafrans has not been recognized yet nor is any Nigerian yet to be prosecuted for the crimes committed.
Likewise, while the Biafran struggle for a separate state has been ignored by the West, it was the image of a starving diseased Biafran child that was marketed to satisfy the appetites of the ‘human rights’ consciences.
This is more or less the similar case with the Eezham Tamil struggle. Western writers and media personnel, who write obituaries for the political demands of the Eezham Tamil nation, nevertheless are happy with highlighting images of suffering Tamils in isolation.
Tamils, as a civilization, need to learn from the Biafran-Nigerian case. While genocidal states are hyper-active in knowledge and resources sharing exercises, the oppressed nations who are betrayed by all establishments, be it of the West, the Third World, or the left, need to come out with alternate thought processes if they intend to achieve liberation in this century.